Aside from analysing LinkedIn profiles and groups for my clients and using LinkedIn to identify, research and qualify potential clients for my own VA business, I also used to write loads of LinkedIn profiles as part of my p/t CV writing business – so when it comes to LinkedIn profiles, I’ve seen it all! Let me show you what a good one looks like:
Why do Virtual Assistants need a LinkedIn profile?
Virtual Assistants need a standout LinkedIn profile for a number of reasons.
- Because the point of LinkedIn is to act as a place where people can do business with each other.
- LinkedIn is the platform for professional business owners.
- You can write loads more on your LinkedIn profile than you could ever fit in a CV – not that freelancers actually need a CV anymore.
- You can gather a ton of testimonials.
- You can support your profile with other forms of media such as videos, documents and featured links.
- You get to show exactly what you do, how you do it, who you do it for and why someone would benefit from hiring you.
- You can SEO your profile just as you would your website so people can find you more easily.
- LinkedIn’s SEO is so good that if someone Googles you, your LinkedIn profile will come up at the top of page one and before your own website.
- If you’re a freelancer then people will Google you.
- You can’t use my method of how to get new clients without a good LinkedIn profile – it’s part and parcel of the entire method.
As a Virtual Assistant, you need to make sure that when someone looks at your LinkedIn profile they clearly and quickly see what you do, who you do it for and whether you’re any good at it because no one will hire you if they’re not sure how you can help their business.
How to write a great Virtual Assistant LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn can be a little overwhelming when you first take a look. There are a lot of settings and, as with all social media platforms, many features have developed and changed over time.
My advice is to start with my suggestions and then work your way through every section and setting to familiarise yourself with how it works.
Don’t bombard everyone with your updates
Before you even start to fiddle with your actual profile, go to your Settings and change what people can see about you otherwise everyone will get a notification each time you change anything and press save.
It’s turned on by default and it’s really annoying – – here’s where you can turn it off.
I’d also consider removing work colleagues and your boss from your contacts before you make any changes, too.
Be clear on who your profile is for
Who do you want to read your profile and what do you want them to know about you?
Don’t just list your job description – summarise the skills you used, the outcome of your efforts and any key achievements so people can see your value.
Mention the types of clients you worked with, the size of budgets you managed, the number of people you oversaw and the level of return you provided so people can see the scope of your experience and how good you are at what you do.
Complete every section
If you haven’t bothered to fill out every section and don’t even have a photo then you look unprofessional at best. You can always hide your profile in the settings until you’ve completed it.
Don’t half-ass your LinkedIn profile. You gotta use your full ass.
Use the About section
This is the most important section as this is a summary of what it is you actually do for a living and why someone might want to work with you.
State your value and what you want to be known for in this section because you can’t rely on people having the time to scroll through your profile.
This is actually quite a hard section to write.
If you’re, quite understandably, struggling to write your About/Summary section, I have a download with 12 mix-and-match examples you can use to write your own. You can find a link to it at the bottom of the page.
Try not to look as if you’ve just been arrested
Take every possible step to not look like a complete numpty in your profile photo. Numpty photos include:
- Group photos where it’s obvious you’ve cropped out other people..
- Pics taken on the beach or on holiday.
- Any photo where you could possibly look topless – so no strapless dresses!
- Photos taken on a drunk night out. This isn’t your personal Facebook profile.
- Ones that make you look like a mug shot or a deer in headlights.
You just want a friendly headshot – one that looks like you in real life, not from 10 years ago – where you come across as friendly and approachable.
You don’t need to be grinning like a loon, but try not to look like a serial killer. If in doubt, ask a friend.
A selfie is actually fine.
I’ve actually never used a professionally taken photo for my social media profiles. I’ve always taken a selfie (be sure to step back from the phone) instead.
You can even upload your selfie to Canva, remove the background and pop it on a brightly coloured background to catch the eye of the reader.
Add a good header image
You can upload a background image to your profile so you get the chance to market your business at the same time.
I recommend creating one in Canva as this allows you to get the sizing right. But if you’re not sure what image to use or you don’t yet have a logo, then just Google ‘LinkedIn background’ and use one of those until you do.
Something professional is better than nothing at all.
Write a focused, eye-catching headline
This is the sentence that appears next to your photo which should say what you do in a nutshell. It’s the first thing people read and you only get a set amount of characters it should be succinct and snappy.
(There are a few ways to write Headlines which I’ve outlined at the bottom of this post)
Don’t waste your career history
Many people slog their guts out and shed blood, sweat and tears at a company only to just write out their job description or say nothing about what they did during their time there… nothing!
Write what you actually did, so instead of just saying ‘marketing and promotions’ list specifics such as “designing and writing branded materials including websites, flyers, posters, trade stand banners” etc.
You worked your arse off for these companies so make them work for you now.
I once saw someone say on their profile: “I’m here to help and asking questions is for free. If you would like to pick my brains on any of my areas of expertise listed below or ask me any other questions, then just connect through LinkedIn. I’m always happy to share my skills and knowledge with no obligation.”
This was a brilliant way to provide an easy reason to contact him, showed he was generous and it made him look really good.
Adding projects is a really good way to provide more information about how you have solved problems and is really useful if you want to offer event/project support.
So, if you worked on projects for clients in your past or present career then elaborate on them.
People want to see how good you are at what you do so outline the brief/client/task, what your actions were (to demonstrate you know what you’re doing, your working processes and how you approach problems) then state what the outcome was and give figures and percentages if relevant or applicable.
Use the Featured section
This is where you can feature blog posts that you’ve written on your website, articles you’ve published on LinkedIn, links to your website, and other media including images, documents, presentations, and videos.
Discover how to use the Featured section here.
Endorsements are the skills that LinkedIn suggests you have to your connections and might not be things you actually want to be endorsed for.
It’s best to have a select list of skills rather than a billion random ones because, if you’re not careful you could end up being endorsed for things you don’t want to do anymore and this will take the focus away from the things you actually do want to offer.
For example, people may endorse you for your minute taking skills but you may not want to offer minute taking as one of your VA services.
People who receive a lot of recommendations (testimonials to you and me) are people who have given a lot of them. So recommend people you know (colleagues etc) and then ask if they can recommend you if they don’t automatically reciprocate.
People often find testimonials hard to write so you could request that they mention a specific skill or trait. It’s far better for a testimonial to say that you are efficient, reliable and cost-effective than that you were friendly or nice to work with, for example.
Testimonials are kinda like stars on Amazon- we all scross down to see them! Also, you can add testimonials to your website but you can’t do this the other way around.
I have a post on how to get testimonials when you’re just starting out that will help you with this.
Rename your contact links
If someone clicks on your website or Instagram link does it go to an old website, a company you no longer work for, or a shonky Insta account you haven’t used in months? Does the link even work any more?
A feature I love is that you can actually change the words ‘company website’ to the name of your business which looks much nicer.
You do this by clicking the pencil on the ‘Contact and Personal Info’ section in the right-hand sidebar, selecting ‘Other’ from the dropdown menu instead of the default words ‘Company Website’, then typing the name of your website.
Don’t connect with everyone or accept every connection request
You want to have a fair few contacts but I recommend being very selective about who you connect with. Consider whether this person is likely to be a prospect, an Associate or a client.
I make a point of not connecting with friends on LinkedIn as the purpose of the platform is to do business. As I don’t work with friends (plus I know them so can just call them!), I don’t want to dilute my audience reach.
I have a post containing three LinkedIn message templates you can use here. One of them is a template you can edit when you want to connect with someone.
Personalise every connection request
It’s unprofessional not to do this and it only takes a second.
I will rarely accept a request from a person I don’t know and who hasn’t even bothered to take the time to tell me why they want to connect with me.
Hide your competition
Go to the ‘How others see your LinkedIn activity’ in the privacy settings, click on the ‘viewers of this profile also viewed’ and change it so that other LinkedIn users with the same job description as you (your competition) don’t appear in the sidebar when someone is viewing your profile.
You want prospects to contact you and not click on some random VA living rent-free in your sidebar!
Turn off group notifications
When you join a group, go to the group settings and make sure you opt out of getting an email notification every time a member blows their nose. You can do this when you join the group or later from your main profile page.
To edit this from the main profile page, click on the word ‘Work’ under the 9 little boxes to the right of your profile photo in the toolbar, select ‘Groups’, then ‘My Groups’ then click the cog to the right of each group and choose ‘Group Settings’.
Use a different email address for notifications
I personally have a separate email address for LinkedIn connect requests and group notifications. I don’t want those “hey look what so-and-so is up to” emails clogging up my business inbox so I have an email address just for business newsletters and other social media updates.
You don’t have to do this of course, but you can change this in the general settings or in the individual group settings as outlined above.
How to write each job role
I’ve found the best way to do this is to give a brief intro into each company or role so people know what the company actually does and its positioning and then say “my role included:” before listing the things you did.
You can usually get this information from the company’s website or LinkedIn page.
With 28 international offices, Example Company is one of the world’s largest and most respected law firms and provides impartial advice to national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments. My role here involved:
– Stuff I did
Example Company is a leading international insurance organisation serving commercial, institutional and individual customers in more than 130 countries. My role was to provide accurate reporting and admin assistance to 40 underwriters and included:
– Stuff I did
Example LinkedIn headings
Unless you create your own Headline, LinkedIn will just bring in the generic wording from your current job…
I often change my own headline and there are many ways you could write it:
You could list your core skills as keywords:
e.g. Business Support | Social Media | Blogging
e.g. Newsletters | Autoresponders | Sales Pages | SEO | Video Editing
e.g. Lifestyle Concierge | Event Support | Travel Coordination
e.g. Minute Taking | Transcription | Diary Management | Admin
You could write a strapline:
e.g. I give business owners more hours in the day
e.g. Creating order from chaos since 2017
e.g. There just isn’t an app for what I do (this is mine!)
e.g. Changing the world one spreadsheet at a time
You could write a sentence:
e.g. Virtual Assistant providing admin and social media support to small businesses and consultants.
e.g. Professional VA specialising in high-converting newsletters and sales pages.
e.g. Virtual Assistant providing travel, admin, email and diary management to busy international coaches and trainers.
- Check out the LinkedIn profiles of other VAs and freelancers to get a few ideas and to see what works and what looks shonky. But do not copy them!
- Constantly keep in mind “who do I want to read this and what do I want them to know about me?” Then tell them just that. Your ideal client needs to be able to quickly and clearly see what you do and why they might want to hire you.
- Potential clients need to see if you’re any good, so get as many Recommendations as you can.
Struggling to write your LinkedIn profile?
If you’re still not sure what to write, I have a download with 12 mix & match summary templates here on my Downloads and Training page.
Joanne, in your experience, would you recommend adding events or personal moments in the professional description?
Hi Jamie, I recommend adding anything that enhances your career history, showcases your skillset and demonstrates how you will bring value to someone’s business. If it doesn’t serve a purpose then I wouldn’t add it.
Thank you for the informative material!!! Your advice is very simple and practical whereas, others were very complicated. I find your article very helpful. I dreaded to revise my linked profile that I kept putting it of. After reading it, I was motivated.
You are so welcome, Edna. I’m delighted you found the information useful.
This has been very helpful. I never updated my LinkedIn profile for years but after reading this I am now motivated to update and make connections. Thank you so much!
You are so welcome! Thank you for commenting.
Do you still write Linked In profiles? I am 74 and admittedly technologically and social media challenged, however, I want to retire and I have a specific retirement job I want to do during the time I have left. I’d really like to find someone who will hold my hand during the process of writing my linked in profile. If you don’t do this, do you know anyone who does? Thanks
I don’t on both counts, I’m afraid.
Interesting and helpful.
This is great, thank you Jo! I am now extremely embarrassed by the state of my LinkedIn page ? I have made it my primary mission to get it sorted! I already began asking old clients and colleagues for recommendations. It feels extremely unnatural and uncomfortable for me to do but I get how important it is.
Invaluable advice, much appreciated!
Thank you Jo! Amazing and extremely helpful. I had no desire to work on my LinkedIn page before, but after reading this, I’m now committed to working on it!!
I love this! Thank you for commenting and good luck with your LinkedIn mission!
I am working my way through your Aladdins cave. I have learnt tricks that I did not know how to do. Thank you
This was very insightful!
Pretty sure this is the first comment I have left on anything ever (something I’ll be working on). I felt compelled to let you know that this content is very valuable! Unique and specific. Thank you!
Thank you very much! Concise, clear and helpful!
This was a huge help. Thank you for all your efforts.
I’ve just set up as a Virtual Assistant and cannot thank you enough for this amazing website – it has been my bible! As a complete LinkedIn beginner, I have just used this article to set up my profile and I’m pleased with it (I think!). Now to purchase your Step by Step Guide on How to Get New Clients. Thank you for an amazing resource!
You are so welcome – join the VA Handbookers Facebook group if you haven’t already and stay in touch!
I am so thankful that I came across your site and signed up for your emails. The information and assistance you’ve given me (and others, I’m sure!) is absolutely priceless. I just spent an hour rewriting my LinkedIn profile. I hated it before, and even though knew it would attract everything I wanted to get away from, I didn’t know HOW to fix it. Now, I love it!! I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak it, but it’s already a huge improvement. Thank you so much, Joanne 🙂
You’re so welcome – glad I could help! x
Brilliant, thought I knew almost all there was to know about LinkedIn but there’s two little nuggets in there I didn’t know about! Thanks Jo, helpful as always.
Always happy to serve!
Thank you so much. Reading your tips make it simple and workable to start a new business.